The wind was blowing a hooley when we woke this morning, which was particularly noticeable because the van was perched on a cliff top overlooking the bay and rocked noticeably each time the stronger gusts hit the shoreline. Well, that’s our story anyway.
First stop was to visit some weird spherical stones sitting in the sea at Moeraki – it reminded us of a science fiction film in which old folk were rejuvenated simply by sitting in the water alongside the objects – we sat in that bloody freezing sea for at least an hour, but nothing happened!
As we drove down the coast the countryside started to become a little more familiar – still beautiful, but a little tamer and there were definitely fewer ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ as we made our way towards Dunedin. Aside from a brief stop to re-stock the larder we didn’t stop in the City, but made our way out onto the stunning Otago Peninsula in pursuit of wildlife. Truth to tell we’ve not done too well so far this holiday with our nature studies – Denise didn’t manage to spot a single roo in Oz and neither of us now believes that koalas actually exist in the wild anymore. Since arriving in NZ we’ve seen plenty of cows, sheep, deer and rabbits; we’ve even seen reindeer grazing – but have we seen a Hobbit yet?
Although the penguins had apparently taken the day off to go fishing, we did at least manage to see some seals and what I can confidently claim thanks to the new binoculars (great choice Jonathan) to have been a Royal Albatross swooping elegantly across the ocean.
Our overnight stop this evening is at Gabriel’s Gully, a couple of km out of Lawrence on the road up to Alexandra. This is another freebie site, but this one has a bit of a history having been one of the key centres for the Otago Gold Rush in the 1860s when 10,000 gold-hungry prospectors literally tore this beautiful little valley apart on their quest for instant wealth. Not many signs left now, but there’s an interesting trail you can follow which tells the story for those who are interested.